U.S. forces came under attack; Iran increases military might; Turkey reinforces troops in Syria
PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – Your briefly report on February 9 in last twelve hours from BulgarianMilitary.com:
U.S., Afghan forces come under fire in eastern Afghanistan – U.S. official
U.S. and Afghan forces came under attack in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, officials said in Kabul as they launched investigations into whether the attackers were Afghan service members or wearing Afghan uniforms, what is known as an “insider attack.”
Colonel Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan, said a combined U.S. and Afghan force conducting an operation in Nangarhar province was engaged by direct fire.
Officials did not comment on the number of casualties.
“We are assessing the situation and will provide further updates as they become available,” he said.
Mubariz Khadem, a senior security official in Nangarhar, said the clashes took placed between U.S. and Afghan forces and casualties were feared.
Insider attacks, often known as “green-on-blue” attacks , have been a regular feature of the conflict in Afghanistan, although their frequency has diminished in recent years.
A senior Afghan defence official said it was not clear whether the incident was a result of clashes between Afghan and foreign forces or whether hardline Islamist militants were responsible for the attack.
“We are not ruling any possibility out but we are not calling it an insider attack, Taliban attack, or ‘green-on-blue’ at this stage,” said the official who requested anonymity.
Taliban sources were not immediately available to comment.
Khamenei says Iran should increase military might to prevent war
Iran should increase its military might to prevent a war, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a gathering of air force commanders on Saturday, dismissing the U.S. sanctions on the country as “criminal act”.
“We should be strong to prevent any war against the county. Being weak will encourage our enemies to attack Iran,” Khamenei, Iran’s top authority, said according to state news agency IRNA.
The Islamic Republic has vowed to increase its military strength despite mounting pressure from Western countries to curtail its military capabilities, including its ballistic missile program.
Tensions between Tehran and Washington have spiked since 2018 when U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned a 2015 pact between Iran and world powers under which Tehran accepted curbs to its nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions.
Turkey reinforces troops in Syria’s Idlib, talks with Russia
Turkey sent hundreds of military vehicles on Saturday into Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, witnesses said, after Syrian government forces took control of a strategic town close to the provincial capital.
The fresh Turkish deployment came as officials from Turkey and Russia, who support opposing sides in Syria’s nearly nine-year war, met in Ankara to discuss the fighting in the last major enclave of opposition to President Bashar al-Assad.
The escalation in Idlib has displaced more than half a million people and disrupted fragile cooperation between Russia and Turkey, which already hosts 3.6 million Syrians and fears another wave of refugees fleeing the latest offensive.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan, who backs some of the rebels who once aimed to topple Assad, threatened this week to repel the Russian-backed Syrian forces unless they withdraw from the region by the end of the month.
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Source: Reuters, Yeni Safak, MEMO